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Written by Scuba Instructors ~ DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:

The Best Diving in Vietnam

Weather in Vietnam

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Vietnam

AVERAGE WATER TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F

Currency

Vietnamese dong (VND)
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Language

Vietnamese
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The authors:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at DIVEIN.com
When Katt is not traveling, she's sharing her thought on Oceanpancake or My Vegan Experiment 

Vietnam has long been a favorite on the backpacker trail. Tourists flock to enjoy its stunning natural beauty, pristine beaches, rich culture, and tasty cuisine. But what many people don’t know is that the underwater realm is just as spectacular.

With 2000 miles of coastline, practically untouched waters, accessibility throughout the year, and hundreds of varieties of marine creatures large and small, Vietnam has definitely stamped its mark on the diving community.

There are four main diving regions in Vietnam: Nha Trang, Con Dao, Phu Quoc, and Whale Island. While Nha Trang is the most developed and boasts the most dive sites, the other three are being continuously explored and new sites are discovered all the time. Reason enough to keep divers coming back time and time again!

Here’s our round-up of the best diving in Vietnam.

The 20 Best Dive sites in Vietnam?

Sort this list to fit your scuba level and wishes

Recommended Level


  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

Dive Type


  1. reef
  2. Wall
  3. Cave
  4. Boat
  5. Rays
  6. Photography
  7. Shark
  8. Drift
  9. Macro
  10. Nudibranch
  11. Night
  12. Wreck
  13. Deep

Show only the very best


  1. Yes
  2. No

Madonna Rock

The topography of Madonna Rock makes this site a true adventure playground. Swim-throughs and caverns cut through two pinnacles at varying depths and just scream out to be explored. A mixture of stunning hard and soft coral encases the rock. With a maximum depth of 25m/82ft, Madonna Rock is a dive all levels of divers can enjoy.

Things to see

Each crevice and cave forms the perfect hideaway for a variety of marine creatures. Clouds made up of millions of glassfish occupy the caverns, while large morays and octopus lurk among the niches. Other highlights include flatworms, unicornfish, and cobia rays.


Beginner reef Wall Cave Boat Our Favorite

Ho Trau Nam

One of the most popular dive sites in the region has to be Ho Trau Nam. Also known as Three King Island, it consists of three peaks that rise up from the seabed to break the surface. A kaleidoscope of purple, yellow, and white corals and gorgonians adorn the area, forming the perfect backdrop for those who love photography.

Things to see

Ho Trau Nam is famous for the rays that frequent the area. Manta rays, eagle rays, and stingrays glide effortlessly through the water. Deeper down on the reef, divers are treated to some weird yet wonderfully beautiful sea slugs.


Intermediate reef Rays Photography Our Favorite

Hun Trung

Its exposed position on the northern edge of Con Dao makes Hun Trung a site with very strong currents. For this reason, this one is only for the more experienced divers. The walls are carpeted in beautiful corals and sea fans. And the good news is that the swift current brings with it larger pelagics. Although the maximum depth here is 40m/130ft, the site is best enjoyed from 15-20m/50-65ft.

Things to see

The channel between Hun Trung and the main islands is a great place to see tuna, mackerel, and barracuda hanging in the blue. It’s also an excellent location for spotting passing dolphins and sharks.


Advanced Wall Shark Drift Our Favorite

Nudibranch Gardens

Nudibranch Gardens is a great site for those who love the smaller critters. This is a shallow reef dive with a maximum depth of 12m/40ft, but there’s still plenty to explore. Impressive large coral and rock formations hide an abundance of macro life.

Things to see

As the name suggests, this dive site boasts huge numbers of multi-colored nudibranch, including the local species of Godiva, which is easy to spot thanks to its deep purple coloring. Keep an eye out for bamboo sharks sheltering beneath the rock formations.


Beginner reef Macro Nudibranch

Hon Mo

The Cham Islands are a group of islets 40 minutes ride from the Vietnamese coast. This tranquil area is home to a small number of dive sites and is an ideal place for a day’s diving. And the sand beaches are the perfect place to relax during a surface interval. A firm favorite with divers is Hon Mo. The reef slopes from 4m/13ft to 35m/114ft and is covered in both hard and soft corals.

Things to see

Hon Mo’s blanket of coral is home to plenty of underwater creatures. Trumpetfish, clownfish, nudibranchs, pipefish, and elusive sea horses are just some of the residents to look out for.


Beginner reef Macro

Fish Highway

Vietnam is not known for its wrecks, but Fish Highway consists of the wreck of a fishing boat lying in 28m/92ft of water. The steel hull is covered in sponges and coral and has become home to the very fish the fishermen used the boat to hunt. Fish Highway has become a firm favorite with photographers.

Things to see

Fish Highway is a refuge to an array of marine creatures including groupers, morays, angelfish, and Moorish idols. Divers should be careful of the stonefish and scorpionfish that hide among the wreck.


Intermediate reef Photography Wreck Our Favorite

Big Wall

As you would expect, Big Wall features a vertical wall that drops down to 35m/115ft making it a great option for a deep dive. The thick coral covering on the rock face and diversity of fish species make this a delight to dive.

Things to see

Angelfish, green wrasse, and butterflyfish have made Big Wall their home. Look out for rabbitfish and double-dotted queenfish. Away from the wall, you can expect to see some larger species, such as groupers and jacks.


Intermediate reef Wall Macro

Moray Beach

With an average depth of 18m/60ft and a shallow, sandy bottom, Moray Beach is the ideal location for training dives. As such, it can become quite crowded. But that’s not an excuse to stay away, as missing Moray Beach is not an option!

More advanced divers can swim over and explore the exciting caves of Moray. Excellent visibility makes for some great photo opportunities.

Things to see

Obviously, moray eels abound here and it’s not unusual to find some over 2m/6.5ft long. Clownfish, scorpionfish, and black frogfish swim around the amazing corals. If you’re brave enough to explore the caves, you will be rewarded with pipefish, razorfish, and devil scorpionfish.


Beginner reef Cave Macro Night

Hon Tai (Ear Island)

On the outer edge of Whale Island is Hon Tai, a beautiful plateau-like reef. It’s a shallow dive with the occasional light current making it ideal for all levels. An excellent site for both wide-angle and macro photography.

Things to see

There’s plenty to keep divers entertained including devil scorpionfish, clownfish, purple fire gobies, blennies, frogfish, and stonefish. Hon Tai is also a good place to spot nurse sharks and white-tip reef sharks.


Beginner reef Shark Macro

Groupers Grotto

A large fishing trawler sits at 35m/115ft at Groupers Grotto. Artifacts are scattered around the floor making the wreck itself more interesting than the one at Fish Highway. This is a challenging dive with plenty for advanced divers to explore.

Things to see

The reason to dive Groupers Grotto is really for the wreck. However, lionfish, morays, and scorpionfish can be found sheltering in the sponges and there’s the chance to see one or two massive groupers. Keep an eye out for the passing sharks that are often spotted here.


Advanced Photography Shark Wreck

Lobster Beach

If lobsters are your thing, you’ll love Lobster Beach. Scattered coral formations and a maximum depth of 16m/52ft have provided the perfect conditions for these colorful crustaceans.

Lobster Beach also used to be a breeding ground for turtles before humans and environmental damage drove them away. However, thanks to the area now being protected, turtle numbers are on the increase and some are returning to reproduce.

Things to see

As you would expect, lobsters abound at Lobster Beach. Other species hanging around the coral include mantis shrimps, trumpetfish, and dragonets.


Beginner reef Macro

Hon Nhan

Hon Nhan is considered one of the best dives around the Cham Islands. The site consists of a pinnacle that bottoms out at around 40m/130ft. Amazing rock formations, caverns, and sudden drop-offs make for a thrilling topography that’s populated by an array of marine life.

Things to see

The real highlight of Hon Nhan is the thousands of colorful nudibranch you’ll see scattered across the seabed. Among the coral skyline you’ll have encounters with plenty of creatures including seahorses, ribbon eels, crabs, and barracudas to name just a few.


Intermediate reef Cave Macro Our Favorite

Whale Island Bay

For a relaxing and easy dive, head to Whale Island Bay. If you’re just starting out on your diving adventure, it’s a great place to practice your skills while exploring the amazing sea life. For the more advanced, it’s the chance to head down deep as the maximum depth here is around 50m/164ft.

Things to see

If it’s Nemo and his relatives you want to see, Whale Island Bay is the dive for you! The sheer number of clownfish darting in and out of their anemones is a magical sight to behold. Check out the large rock formations for views of trevally, snappers, and groupers.


Beginner reef Macro

Hon Ko (Dry Island)

The few rocks that you see above the surface at Hon Ko may not seem like much. But once you head beneath the waves you’ll be met with a spectacular reef system. Beautiful hard corals are simply teeming with life.

Things to see

Due to its diversity, it would probably be easier to list what you won’t see at Hon Ko! Some of the highlights are miter shells, bamboo sharks, catfish, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, and octopus. Keep an eye out for small reef sharks and the occasional turtle.


Beginner reef Photography Shark Our Favorite

The Cave

The main feature of The Cave is a reef that slopes down to 25m/82ft. This gives way to a cave that can be found at 6-9m/20-30ft. All levels of divers can head into the swim-through and penetrate the reef.

Things to see

The Cave offers scuba divers the chance to see all the regular inhabitants of the seas around Vietnam. Clownfish, lionfish, triggerfish, feather stars, and plenty of worms will keep photographers happy.


Beginner reef Photography Macro Our Favorite

White Rock

Sheer vertical walls dropping from the surface down to 40m/130ft and huge pinnacles rising from the bottom make White Rock a very exciting dive. Dark-colored gorgonians and coral trees cover the depths creating an eerie and mysterious environment.

It may be the furthest dive site from Whale Island, but White Rock is definitely worth the journey.

Things to see

White Rock is a great site to explore for the variety of marine animals lurking around the coral. Take a look down into the depths and you should see some of the many black rays gliding menacingly below you.


Intermediate reef Wall Boat Our Favorite

Electric Nose

A massive pinnacle rising from 50m/164ft to the surface is the main feature of Electric Nose. A blanket of soft coral provides a diverse eco-system with an abundance of macro life.

With a colorful reef and a cave encrusted in yellow sunflower coral to explore, Electric Nose is a site that most divers will dive more than once.

Things to see

The sheer variety that Electric Nose offers is outstanding. It’s reported that over 50 species of nudibranch have been recorded at this one site. Search among the coral and you’ll see a number of different kinds of flatworms, crabs, and shrimps.


Advanced reef Photography Macro Our Favorite

Hon Ong

Another shallow dive is Hon Ong with a maximum depth of 12m/40ft. Stunning coral and vibrant anemones cover the reef and provide a habitat for a rich variety of fish.

Due to its shallowness, Hon Ong is a popular night dive choice with the local dive operators.

Things to see

Where you get anemones you can expect to see plenty of clownfish. And this fantastic reef is also home to a colony of sea horses, shrimps, crabs, and beautiful Spanish dancers.


Advanced reef Macro Night

Turtle Island North

Located at the north end of Phu Quoc, Turtle Island provides three different dives that are a firm favorite with visiting and local divers.

Turtle Island North features large, coral-encrusted boulders that rise up from the seabed. These create a habitat that provides a home for all manner of marine species. Photographers will be in their element!

Things to see

As well as lots of tropical species, such as butterflyfish and angelfish, Turtle Island North is a great place to see blue-spotted stingrays and reef sharks. Look out to the blue and you will hopefully catch a glimpse of a passing eagle ray.


Beginner reef Photography Shark Macro

Turtle Island South

Turtle Island South offers experienced divers something completely different to the North dive site of the same name. Deeper depths and stronger currents bring in the larger marine species.

The coral covering is colorful and vibrant and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular dive.

Things to see

You can expect to encounter the usual small critters in and around the reef. The added bonus is sharks, barracuda, stingrays, eagle rays, and large schools of snapper and tuna.


Advanced reef Shark Drift Our Favorite
Vietnam may not be at the top of everyone’s list of dive destinations. But those scuba divers who head to the country all agree that it should be.
Did we miss your favorite dive site in Vietnam? Drop us a line below and tell us about it!
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THE AUTHORS:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at Divein
When Katt is not traveling, she’s sharing her thought on Oceanpancake or My Vegan Experiment 

Torben Lonne

Scuba Instructor and editor

Torben has a huge passion for Scuba diving and traveling. He’s also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of divein. 

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